LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

We’re hoping our LCA Members are enjoying 2011 and dealing with the multitude of extreme weather conditions being thrown at us by Mother Nature.  We’ve seen repeated record temperatures throughout June and an extended drought that has browned our grasses, damaged our trees and dropped our lake level more than three (3) feet.  Would you like some good news from your friends at the Lake Conroe Association?

 First, invasive weeds such as Hydrilla, Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth are well under control on Lake Conroe.  The primary activity of the LCA since its inception in 1977 has been the review of invasive weeds on Lake Conroe and organizing funding raising activities to raise private money for the control of those invasive weeds.  Thanks to the generosity of our donors, monies contributed by the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA), and time invested by a combination of the LCA, SJRA and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, we find our reservoir to be virtually invasive weed-free at this time.  This certainly beats a 2008 which saw infestations of Hydrilla at 2,052 surface acres, Giant Salvinia of 628 surface acres and Water Hyacinth of 68 surface acres.  To fund this effective reduction of invasive weeds, our donors contributed in excess of $600,000 and SJRA “matched” this $600,000 in donations.  The primary use of these funds was the purchase of 123,765 White Amur Grass Carp to combat the explosive growth of Hydrilla.  It is estimated that 32,000 White Amur Grass Carp remain alive in Lake Conroe today.

Second, the study being conducted by Texas A&M University to review the economic and social impact of reducing lake levels on Lake Conroe is more than 50% complete at this time and should be completed by the end of 2011.  An important survey measuring Montgomery County resident opinions on reducing lake levels will be mailed out within the next month to 1 out of every 10 households within a 4 mile radius of Lake Conroe.  Should you receive this survey, please do your best to complete and return the survey on a timely basis as your opinion counts!  Our LCA donors contributed $66,000 towards the total study cost of $142,000.  The LCA believes the study will support our opinion that lowering lake levels (due to the ever-increasing water use in Montgomery County) will negatively affect our local economy and property values, and that alternative water sources for our County should be explored immediately.

Third, we’re NOT asking you for money this year!  We are all aware of how a slowing economy, budget shortfalls and increasing unemployment have hurt so many families and friends.  In light of how important a dollar is to everyone, the LCA Board of Directors has elected to pass on soliciting funds through our Annual LCA Membership Campaign and decided to extend 2011 LCA Membership to all 2010 donors.  We believe our current balance (checking account plus certificates of deposit) is sufficient to meet our financial needs for the upcoming year and see no need to request money from you at this time.   Of course, should an unforeseen emergency occur in 2011 in our community which falls under the objectives of the LCA, we would initiate a fund raiser specific to that cause.  We anticipate renewing our Annual LCA Membership Campaign again in 2012.   For any newcomers interested in joining the LCA or for current LCA Members preferring to make a tax-deductible donation in 2011, donations to our Section 501(c) (3) non-profit organization can be mailed to:  Lake Conroe Association, P.O. Box 376, Willis, Texas  77378.  By our mission statement, the LCA “acts as a civic organization for the purpose of over-seeing, directing, initiating and promulgating programs that directly affect the control, use, and enjoyment of Lake Conroe for the benefit of Montgomery County, Texas.”

With a current lake level of 197.71 feet (over 3 feet below average pool elevation 201.0) and 2011 rainfall totals of only 6 inches (compared to an average 24 inches of rain by this date), we all look forward to some extended rain showers to replenish our reservoir, feed our grasses, plants and trees, and drop our temperatures.  We can all hope, can’t we?  We wish you and your families an enjoyable and prosperous summer of 2011.

Mike Bleier, President

Lake Conroe Association

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

This brief update summarizes the LCA’s efforts and findings in reviewing Texas Parks & Wildlife’s (TPWD) May, 2007 Hydrilla survey.

Since TPWD released its survey information on June 14, 2007 which estimated a total of 1,380 infested Hydrilla acres, the LCA has endeavored to better understand the survey results. LCA Board Member Ben Richardson and his Dad, Dana, toured Little Lake Creek (primarily covering the infestations of Bentwater, Laketree and Grand Harbor) in their personal boat on June 15. Ben and I, along with the SJRA, toured Caney Creek via SJRA airboat on June 22. On that same day, SJRA and I toured Little Lake Creek for a further view of this highly infested area. On June 23, I toured Lewis Creek (to the best of my ability without getting stuck) in my personal boat. A helicopter flyover of the Lake was delayed last week due to lightning and storm concerns over most available days, and this flyover is trying to be rescheduled for next week. Local residents have also provided numerous reports on what they observed this week from their watercraft and lakefront property.

TPWD provided detailed maps of the heavily infested acreage and the estimated number of infested acres for each location. We checked their math, and understand where they arrived at their total of 1,380 infested acres.

With all of the above being said, there is no way for the LCA to concur with or refute TPWD’s estimate of 1,380 acres. Once on the Lake, the ability to discern a 10 acre infestation from a 20 acre infestation by sight is virtually impossible. Obviously, the same difficulty applies to 100 acre infestations. TPWD makes its assessments utilizing GPS (Global Positioning System) and measures the area by establishing the four corners (or even more coordinates where appropriate) of the infestation. We did not have a GPS system with us in any of the LCA trips on the Lake this week.

So, what can the LCA say? We definitively observed Hydrilla infested acreage that has been reduced by White Amur (and where no herbicides have been applied in 2007). Most of this activity was observed at the deeper edges of the infestation and not in the shallow waters near shores or boat docks. We further observed significant Hydrilla reduction in certain deeper areas where a combination of White Amur and herbicides appear to be making a difference. And, where SJRA has performed Hydrilla herbicide applications in the past ten (10) days, we certainly saw signs of Hydrilla reduction (as would be expected for the monies being spent on herbicides). SJRA and TPWD will be continuing their herbicide applications to shallower waters this coming week.

There is not much more to say at this time. Trying to utilize GPS in the coming week would not prove too valuable because the measurable benefits of White Amur versus herbicides would be difficult, at best, to verify with accuracy (remember, the May, 2007 survey was done PRIOR TO Hydrilla herbicide applications). TPWD will be performing its next survey in July, 2007, and the LCA will have representatives on the boat to ask questions about each infestation. Since this survey commences in 2 – 3 weeks, we feel this is the best method to review the infestation going forward.

I’m pleased to see progress by the White Amur, and believe that the White Amur will be the solution to our problem for 2008. For our beautiful Summer months of 2007, I can also see that herbicide applications are a MUST if we are to enjoy the use of our Lake. As always, we are open to your feedback on the weed infestations of Lake Conroe; and we are greatly appreciative of your donations to the 2007 LCA Fund Raising Campaign which have totaled approximately $100,000 during the past six (6) weeks. Thank you for your time in reviewing this Update. Enjoy your week.

Mike Bleier

President, Lake Conroe Association

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

Happy Holidays to our LCA Members.  We’re pleased that Lake Conroe is far more visually appealing and watercraft-usable than we experienced in the Summer.  Due to a number of factors, our Lake is closer to becoming theLakewe have all enjoyed in the past.  And while the battle over invasive weeds is far from over, we seem to be moving in the right direction thanks to your generous contributions to the Lake Conroe Association.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) has completed its November/December, 2007 aquatic plant survey and released those results today to the committee with whom they have work closely over the past two years (including San Jacinto River Authority, LCA and angling organizations).  In general, TPWD has seen a reduction of “topped-out” hydrilla but acknowledges that sub-surface hydrilla is still of serious concern for the year ahead.  While committed to reaching its stated goal of “40 acres or less of hydrilla by March, 2008”, TPWD reported the current hydrilla infestation to be 1,942 acres.  This represents an increase of 167 acres from the July/August, 2007 survey which reported 1,775 hydrilla infested acres.  TPWD reported that hydrilla is currently being found out to a depth of 9 feet below the lake’s surface, and that the average height from the lake floor is 2 to 4 feet.  TPWD expressed optimism because it has observed a significant reduction in the density of the hydrilla (or said another way….even though the number of infested acres has increased, the total volume of hydrilla material has decreased).

TPWD reported a significant hydrilla infestation in the northeastern portion of theLakewhich had limited infestation previously.  The two most significant infestations were in areas referred to as Cagle and Stubblefield.  TPWD reiterated that the inhabited, southern portion of theLakeremains its first priority, but that this newest northeastern infestation is of concern and measured 400 to 500 acres.

Given its reported hydrilla infestation of 1,942 acres, TPWD has suggested that 15,775 white amur grass carp be added toLakeConroein January, 2008 to compensate for fish mortality since the August, 2007 stocking.  The calculation of white amur mortality is based on studies which report a 32% annual mortality during the first year after stocking and a 39% mortality each year thereafter.  SJRA and LCA have agreed to 50/50 cost share this stocking as done throughout 2007.  As a “stocking factoid”, it is calculated that 23,300 white amur have died out of the 86,200 stocked since March, 2006.

TPWD intends to perform a new survey in January, 2008 specifically in the three most infested (and populated) areas referred to as Little Lake Creek, Lewis Creek and Caney Creek.  Should the infestation in these areas not decrease in the next month, TPWD stated it intends to then permit additional white amur beyond the 15,775 already permitted and discussed above.

TPWD stated that they still believe they can achieve the stated goal of “40 acres or less of hydrilla by March, 2008” even though they have reported 1,942 acres currently.  TPWD emphasized that the Plan (Lake Conroe Aquatic Management Plan effective throughMarch 31, 2008) calls for a “measured approach” to the problem – meaning that the objective of hydrilla reduction cannot override the goal of maintaining the native vegetation inLakeConroe.  TPWD expressed that hydrilla reduction AND maintenance of native vegetation are both priorities.  In fact, TPWD intends to enhance native vegetation in 2008 by planting tape grass/water celery in the uninhabited areas of theLake.

Rather than wait for you to ask the question, I’ll pose the question “What does the LCA think about TPWD’s presentation and proposal today?”  We were very disappointed to learn that the number of hydrilla infested acres increased from 1,775 to 1,942 between the July/August, 2007 survey and the November/December, 2007 survey.  We are especially concerned that this increase occurred during a period where 1) we had approximately 63,000 white amur eating hydrilla (the largest quantity since the early ’80’s), 2) enormous sums of money were spent on herbicides and white amur, and 3) this growth occurred during a slower growing period based on cooler water temperatures.  The LCA requested a January, 2008 stocking greater than the 15,775 permitted by TPWD to proactively deal with an infestation that continues to grow, and we do not believe that a more aggressive stocking would negatively affect native vegetation significantly.  TPWD denied our request to increase this stocking and offered the January, 2008 survey as their best alternative.  Since only TPWD and SJRA are “Cooperators” under the Plan, the LCA must accept this proposal and commit to actively review the infestation on a very regular basis (which we WILL do).

The LCA contributed $252,000 to SJRA during 2007 for aquatic plant management.  While fund raising in the Winter months for aquatic plant management proves difficult (in part due to “out of sight, out of mind”), the LCA continues to work behind the scenes on your behalf.  We recently sponsored a booth at the Conroe Chamber of Commerce annual trade show in an effort to meet with local businesses and express our genuine need for their support.  Through phone calling and personal meetings, we have engaged local businesses to join the fight against invasive weeds onLakeConroeand successfully enlisted numerous businesses as LCA Business Members.  To acknowledge the increasing commitment from the local business community, we have listed those businesses making contributions of $250 or more at the end of this Update.  We hope you keep these business partners in mind when making purchases in their area of specialization.  The LCA also maintains ongoing communication with our local representatives inAustinto reinforce our need for their support in securing funding for aquatic plant management in 2008.

The next comprehensive Residential Fund Raising Campaign will not occur until Spring, 2008 but, of course, donations are graciously accepted throughout the year.  Donations to our 501 (c) 3 charitable corporation can be sent to Lake Conroe Association, PO Box 376, Willis, Texas 77378-9998.  Donations should be tax deductible.

For those concerned over AVM (Avian Vacuolar Myelinopathy), a disease typically carried by birds and potentially deadly to man, TPWD confirmed that it sampledLake Conroe twice in 2007 for AVM and reported no signs of this disease.  Accordingly, TPWD states that for now there is no concern for Lake Conroe.

It’s time for calendar year LCA Board elections once again.  The Nominating Committee has suggested that 2007 LCA Directors be re-elected for 2008 to provide continuity and allow these volunteers to see the resolution of weed infestations through to the end.   The 2007 LCA Officers have accepted this nomination.  Accordingly, you will shortly receive a ballot through the mail to cast your support for the recommendation of the LCA Nominating Committee or write-in your own candidate(s).  If you are interested in joining the LCA Board in 2008 and desire to have your name considered by the Nominating Committee before the ballot goes to our Members, please contact me as soon as possible.  Anyone interested in this position should be available to attend LCA Board Meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at10AMand intend to become involved in LCA activities/responsibilities.  If the LCA Board is re-elected as is, it should be noted that the LCA Board’s intention is to re-elect the 2007 Officers for the upcoming 2008 term.  The 2007 LCA Officers were Mike Bleier (President), Colin Stead (Vice President), Tom Butz (Treasurer) and Sue Wheatley (Secretary).

Thank you for your time in reviewing this information.  We will continue to endeavor to provide you with timely information whenever new data becomes available.  Until then, we wish you and your family a safe, happy holiday season; and please find below a listing of LCA Business Members and a brief description of their services and products.

Mike Bleier, President

LakeConroeAssociation

 

****LCA BUSINESS MEMBERS****

The Board of Directors of the LCA would like to recognize the following businesses who have given a minimum of a $250 donation in 2007.

The PalmsMarinaonLakeConroe

(formerly The Anchorage Marina)

P. O. Box525

Willis,TX77356

Ben31@lakeconroe.com

www.palmsmarina.com

 (website will be activated this week)

LakeConroe’s newest luxury marina.  Brand new 12×26, 12×28, 12×30, 14×40, 18×50 & 18×60 foot wet slips.  Sewer pump out & 20/30/50 amp service at each of the larger slips

Lakeshore Sports

15225 Walden Road

Montgomery,TX77356

936-448-2628

www.lakeshoresports.com

Sells Cobalt runabouts and Premier pontoon boats to theLakeConroeand furroundingHoustonlakes.  We promote boating as a great family activity and work hard to ensure an enjoyable experience for all our customers.

E-Z Boat Storage & Valet Launch

14811 FM 1097 W

Willis,TX77318

936-856-4151

Ben31@lakeconroe.com

www.e-zboat.com

LakeConroe’s finest valet launch facility.  Located at the Southeast corner of the big bridge andLakeConroe.

Patti Shannon Sells, Inc. Real Estate

12455 Longmire Lakeview

Conroe,TX77304

936-588-4099

Rusty@pattishannonsells.com

www.pattishannonsells.com

LakeConroereal estate

Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors

Gary Richardson & Candace Joyner

14602 FM 1097 W

Willis,TX77318

936-856-5590

Candace@lconroe.com

www.lakeconroeproperties.com

Residentail real estate firm specializing in the selling of Lake Conroe Properties.

Pro Powersports ofConroe

13895 Highway 105 W

Conroe,TX77304

936-588-1970

info@propowersportsofconroe.com

www.propowersportsofconroe.com

Full service powersports retailer, offering new & pre-owned sales, finance, insurance, service, parts & accessories.

Bentwater on the Northshore

100 Bentwater Drive

Montgomery,TX77356

www.bentwater.com

Laura Baird Interiors

4605 Post Oak PlaceDrive,Suite140

Houston,TX77027

www.candbinteriors.com

Bella Vita onLakeConroe

235 I-45 North

Conroe,TX77304

 The Baird Law Firm

4605 Post Oak PlaceDrive,Suite240

Houston,TX77027

David Weekley Homes

1111 N. Post Oak Road

Houston,TX77055

www.davidweekleyhomes.com

Express Personnel Services

Piedmont,OK73078

Inland Discount Marine, Inc.

1 Marina Drive

Montgomery,TX77356

deh@consolidated.net

www.inlandmarina.com

TOPPS ofLakeConroe

P. O. Box1521

Montgomery,TX77356

wstultz@consolidated.net

www.topps-lakeconroe.com

LakeShoreService

P. O. Box1124

Montgomery,TX77356

Cobalt boat repair

936-448-4440

WestlakeStorage

P. O. “Box1154

Montgomery,TX77356

Dry boat storage

Playa Vista onLakeConroe

5606 South Rice

Houston,TX77081

www.playavistaconroe.com

Alfred “Ted” Ruemke Law Office

704 N. Thompson,Suite190

Conroe,TX77301

ruemke@yahoo.com

Firm handling litigation, personal injury & family law.

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

Hoping you’ve enjoyed the Summer. Just some quick facts on Lake Conroe ’s hydrilla infestation and treatment to keep you up to date. Here’s what I know.

As of July, 2007, hydrilla infestation was surveyed to total 1,776 infested acres. Infestation by area was 564 acres in Caney Creek (northwestern arm of the Lake ), 553 acres in Little Lake Creek (primarily Bentwater, Walden, Grand Harbor and up to the bridge into Montgomery ), 295 acres in Lewis Creek (primarily Lake Conroe Hills, Pt. Aquarius and up to the small 1097 bridge at the Shell station), and 364 acres in other areas.

The September, 2007 hydrilla survey was not done by Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD). A date when a survey will be completed by TPWD has not been established.

TPWD permitted the release of 25,364 white amur grass carp after releasing its July, 2007 hydrilla survey results. To date, releases have been as follows:

· September 13….3,200 western Bentwater, 1,800 Bentwater small island and 500 Bentwater marina…..for a total of 5,500 (to cover “Little Lake Creek”)

· September 20….. 3,250 Lake Conroe Hills, 1,625 Anchorage Marina and 1,625 Pt. Aquarius…..for a total of 6,500 (to cover “ Lewis Creek ”)

· September 27…..3,200 Scott’s Ridge Nat’l Park and 3,200 northern Caney Creek….for a total of 6,400 (to cover “Caney Creek”)

· October 4…..estimated 4,000 tomorrow to Cagle Park (northeastern arm of the Lake with a significant new infestation during Summer, 2007) and possible other selected, appropriate locations

· October 11-18…..balance of 2,964…..release location not yet established

I know that the Lake still doesn’t look wonderful where infested. I know that hydrilla infestations have spread to new locations during 2007. I know that many are tired of seeing and dealing with the hydrilla…..as am I. But here is the “theoretic good news”:

· In October, 2006, we had 26,000 fish eating 1,200 acres

· In May, 2007, we had 55,000 fish eating 1,900 acres

· The July, 2007 survey reported 1,800 acres….meaning no “net growth” during the fastest growing months of hydrilla….meaning the fish were eating the hydrilla sufficiently to stop further expansion (with the help of herbicides)

· While no survey was completed, I’d “guess” that our hydrilla infestation has remained at 1,800 acres today…..again not expanding during peak growing months (with the help of herbicides)

· With the newest releases summarized above, we will have 75,000 fish eating 1,800 acres….and doing so when hydrilla is NOT in growth mode

· With hydrilla growing at a slow pace over the next 4-5 months, these 75,000 fish SHOULD reduce the number of infested acres significantly

· Should 75,000 fish reduce hydrilla to 1,400 acres (just to pick a number), then 75,000 fish will eat 1,400 acres EVEN FASTER. And should those same 75,000 fish then reduce hydrilla to 1,000 acres, then 75,000 fish will eat 1,000 acres FASTER THAN FASTER.

At least I can be optimistic that we’re headed on the right path. I doubt that the stated goal (40 acres or less of hydrilla by March, 2008) of the Lake Conroe Aquatic Management Plan co-authored by TPWD and the San Jacinto River Authority will be achieved, but hydrilla reduction WILL happen and 2008 will be a better year for all of us.

Glad to share some information and thoughts with you. Enjoy the beautiful weather ahead.

Mike Bleier

President, Lake Conroe Association